Educational Resources for Students and Families
Some districts and schools have been, or will soon be, providing students and families with educational resources to help students continue learning while schools are closed. In addition to those resources provided by local districts and schools, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) pulled together this list of available resources that can support students and families while schools are closed. This list is not comprehensive, and DESE does not endorse these products. We are making the list available to families and caregivers as a way to support engaging students in learning while they are out of school.
Online Resources — Updated 7/23/2020
This resource list is not comprehensive, and DESE does not endorse these products.
Family Guides to the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards (Created by DESE)
These guides to the Massachusetts learning standards help families understand what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Designed to help families and teachers work together to support learning, the guides are available in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese. Promotional materials advertising these resources are also available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
DESE and WGBH Partnership for Educational Resources
The Department is partnering with WGBH to bring educational resources to students and families through television and digital media. WGBH has created a distance learning site, and we hope to reach as many students and caregivers as possible. PBS LearningMedia is a free digital repository of tens of thousands of high-quality media resources that are contextualized for educational use. The resources span disciplines for grades PreK-12, are aligned to national and state standards, and include videos, comprehensive lessons, interactive activities, and support materials (teaching tips, background readings, and student handouts). Here are just a few collections on PBS LearningMedia to explore:
- Bringing the Universe to America's Classrooms: Earth and space science, created in collaboration with NASA. Grades K–12.
- AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: History and social studies resources from one of public media's flagship broadcasts. Grades 4–12.
- ARTHUR: Beloved characters keep the focus on community, civics, and social-emotional learning. Grades PreK–5.
- Molly of Denali: The MOLLY OF DENALI™ collection offers videos, digital games, lessons, teaching tips, and activities with a focus on informational text. Grades PreK–2.
- Math at the Core Middle School: Engaging media and integrated activities, all aligned with the Massachusetts mathematics standards . Grades 5–8.
- Inspiring Middle School Literacy: Self-paced lessons include videos, interactive activities, note taking, reading, and writing to present students with engaging science, social studies, mathematics, and English language arts topics. Grades 5–8.
- NOVA Education Resources: Authentic, real-world science learning. Grades 7–13+.
Digital Resources designed for remote learning and available free of charge:
English Language Arts and Literacy
Keep your child reading every day.
- CommonLit: A free collection of fiction and nonfiction texts for grades 3–12. Includes an annotation tool, guiding and discussion questions, translations in various languages, and texts read aloud.
- Great Minds: Great Minds has daily lessons in Wit & Wisdom (English language arts) available for free for students in grades K–8 . These lessons will be delivered by Great Minds' own teachers and will be viewable on any device.
- Heggerty: Free activities to build foundational reading skills. These are best for ages 4–6.
- Hoopla and OverDrive: Many local public libraries use these two apps to allow users to borrow digital books for free. Visit your local library's website and look for the section on digital resources.
- StoryLine Online: Hear quality children's literature read aloud and see illustrations.
History, Social Studies, and Civics
- iCivics: iCivics offers free, engaging civics content, including lesson plans and games for students to play digitally, content about media literacy, and Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. Government and Politics prep.
- EVERFI: Offers interactive financial literacy and social and emotional learning lessons. They have a bank of free digital lessons that can be accessed by registering as a student or a teacher.
- Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: This website is geared specifically at preparing AP U.S. History students virtually. It includes primary sources, essays, videos, and study guides aligned with the AP curriculum.
- National Constitution Center: In addition to the interactive Constitution tool, they host several educational resources and games.
- Stanford History Education Group: The Reading Like a Historian curriculum is free with registration and offers ready-to-go lessons on world and U.S. history based on primary source investigations.
STEM [Science and Technology/Engineering, Mathematics, Digital Literacy and Computer Science]
- Code.org: Provides learning resources that help students learn about computer science and programming on their own. Offerings include Computer Science (CS) Fundamentals for K–5 and online courses and labs for middle and high school (CS Express, App Lab, Game Lab, and Web Lab).
- Great Minds: Free daily lessons available in grades 3–5 science and grades K–12 Eureka Math. These lessons will be delivered by Great Minds' own teachers and will be viewable on any device. In addition, access to the full K–12 Eureka Math program is available for free.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy has outlined support for parents and educators on how to use their resources during remote learning. Khan Academy is a free resource for students, teachers, and parents with a library of lessons covering kindergarten through early college math, grammar, science, history, plus AP?courses, SAT?preparation, and more. Available in 40 languages.
- PhET Online Simulations: A library of online simulations that students can play with and explore to investigate scientific and mathematical models. Can be sorted bygrade level.
- Smithsonian Science How Webcast: These webcasts originally aired live from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. They're great for students in grades 3–8 and are optimized for students in grades 3–5.
- ST Math: A web-based visual instructional program that leads to deep conceptual understanding of math. ST Math is offering parents free access through June 30 for grades K–8.
- Zearn K-5 Mathematics: Zearn has made its entire curriculum, including 400 hours of digital lessons with on-screen teachers and supportive remediation, available for free. To access these materials, go to the Distance Learning Resource Center for:
- Quick-start instructions for using Zearn Math programmatically as part of a distance learning plan
- Daily webinars for administrators, teachers, and parents to walk through quick-start instructions. Each webinar will offer 'office hours' with time for questions with the Zearn team.
Arts (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theater, and Visual arts)
General Online Learning Resources (All or Multiple Content Areas)
- Brainpop: Free resources and tools that develop critical, computational, and creative thinking skills across the curriculum, especially for younger children. Available in Spanish, French, and English.
- Listenwise: Supports listening comprehension with stories and non-fiction in English language arts, social studies and science. Subscriptions are free.
- Newsela: Digital subscriptions for free in English language arts, social science, and science and supports social emotional learning.
- Scholastic Learn at Home: General videos and learning activities.
- TechforLearners.org: Searchable database of education technology tools that facilitate online classrooms and teaching, allowing educators to search for free and discounted tools and services by grade level, product type, and subject matter. The site will soon include additional resources for parents and students.
- WatchKnowLearn: Free educational videos in all content areas.
Supporting Students with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) issued a fact sheet clarifying that schools must continue to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities while protecting the health and safety of students, educators, and service providers. In these extraordinary circumstances, special education services will be provided differently than they are when school buildings are open and fully operational. School and district personnel should be reaching out to students and families by phone, email, and other means of communication in order to ensure that students with disabilities an access educational resources and services provided by the district.
Resources for educators and families about how to support students with disabilities during the public health emergency is updated regularly by DESE and is available at COVID-19 Information and Resources for Special Educators.
Last Updated: February 2, 2021